Generally speaking long term investing is the way to go. But unfortunately, some companies simply don’t succeed. Zooming in on an example, the Volga Gas plc (LON:VGAS) share price dropped 65% in the last half decade. We certainly feel for shareholders who bought near the top. We also note that the stock has performed poorly over the last year, with the share price down 44%. Furthermore, it’s down 11% in about a quarter. That’s not much fun for holders.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During five years of share price growth, Volga Gas moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics might give us a better handle on how its value is changing over time.
The steady dividend doesn’t really explain why the share price is down. It’s not immediately clear to us why the stock price is down but further research might provide some answers.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time.
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Volga Gas the TSR over the last 5 years was -56%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 12% in the last year, Volga Gas shareholders lost 40% (even including dividends) . However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 15% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should ‘buy when there is blood on the streets’, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Importantly, we haven’t analysed Volga Gas’s dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you’re thinking of buying.
But note: Volga Gas may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.